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Hey Landlord! Is Your Lease Legal?

The longer you are a landlord the more you strive to create the perfect lease/rental agreement. Landlords learn in the school of hard-knocks that some tenants are certified trouble makers and we try our best to protect ourselves with a carefully structured restrictive lease.

That's just good business.... but be careful you don't include any provisions in your lease that may not be legal. For example...

It would be illegal to include a provision that states the resident agrees not to include his or her lease (the lease on your property) in their bankruptcy filing... should their bankruptcy become necessary.

Bankruptcy laws are Federal.. lease law is state law.

Anyone can file for bankruptcy and invoke all protections afforded to them by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code... including not making lease payments... at least temporarily.

Here's another caution...

It would be illegal for your lease to require that residents be responsible for injuries he or she sustain during the lease term. The law can legally hold landlords liable for damages and injuries caused due to negligence. A landlord cannot contract that away.

How about repairs....

The same would apply to a requirement that the tenant be responsible for all necessary repairs. In every state the law mandates that landlords perform certain repairs to maintain the property and keep it habitable.

Does your lease contain a clause concerning attorney fees?...

Requiring a renter to pay for all of the landlord's legal fees and costs regardless of a court case out come would also be a lease no-no.

Most good leases have stood the test of time and will help you avoid legal problems. Just don't ask tenants to sign it until you have read and completely understand every line of the lease you are using.

You'll find the lease we use here...

Mark Walters is a third generation real estate investor who shares his experience from two Web sites...

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